Point Henry smelter to close for good tomorrow

The Point Henry smelter near Geelong will wind up its operations on Thursday after more than 50 years as an aluminium plant.

Faced by increased aluminium production from China and the high Australian dollar, the plant became economically unviable and, after much speculation, the decision to close it was finally made in February.

As the ABC reports, the closure will leave 500 locals unemployed. 

The region's economy is facing some hard times. For example, Geelong will also have to deal with the closure of Ford's car making operation in 2016. 

Only about 50 Port Henry workers have found new jobs. Some are old enough to retire, while others are retraining.

Anthony Gruca, who has worked at Alcoa for more than 30 years told the ABC that he wants to find security work in airports, on the wharves, or doing control room monitoring.

He said that Alcoa was helpful and reimbursed him for his security training.

"Now that I'm in my 50s I think it's time to look elsewhere. You just can't stay idle, I need to get out there and continue on," Mr Gruca said.

The smelter is powered by Alcoa's Anglesea coal mine and power station. There is a possibility that, despite opposition from environmentalists, the jobs of the 80 people working there may be saved by a sale of the operation.

An Alcoa spokesman said the company had received a number of expressions of interest for the coal mine and power station.

Image: Faifax